Sept. 26, 2016 - Boulder Receives “SolSmart Gold” Award for Advancing Solar Energy Growth
Monday, Sept. 26, 2016
Alexis Bullen, Sustainability Communications, 303-441-1878
Sarah Huntley, Media Relations, 303-441-3155
Boulder Receives “SolSmart Gold” Award for Advancing Solar Energy Growth
The City of Boulder has earned a gold designation by SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, in recognition of its national leadership in advancing solar energy. The SolSmart Gold designation is awarded to cities for adopting programs and practices that make it faster, easier and cheaper to go solar. A SolSmart designation is a signal that the community is “open for solar business,” helping to attract solar industry investment and generate economic development and local jobs.
Yael Gichon, the city’s energy sustainability coordinator, said, “The City of Boulder is committed to the expansion of solar energy development in our community. We are pleased to receive the highest level designation that SolSmart offers in recognition of the work on solar development Boulder has already done and will continue to do in the future.”
To achieve a designation, cities and counties must take steps to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning; permitting; financing; customer acquisition; and installation labor. Soft costs now represent roughly two-thirds of the total price of an installed residential system. Reducing these costs leads to savings that are passed on to consumers. Communities that take sufficient action are designed either gold, silver or bronze.
Popular solar development programs in Boulder include solar installation tax rebates and grants for solar panels on non-profit organizations’ buildings and on affordable housing. Additionally, Boulder’s rooftop solar tool supports community members in understanding their solar potential as well as estimating system costs and payback time.
SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart strives to cut red tape, drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Learn more at SolSmart.org.
To find out more about the City of Boulder’s solar programs, including grants and the rooftop solar tool, please visit the city’s solar webpage.